Managing Concealable Stigmas at Work: A Review and Multilevel Model


Many employees possess inconspicuous identities that are stigmatized. At work, a context wherein impression management concerns are salient, these individuals face decisions about when, how, and to whom to disclose their concealable stigmas with important consequences for the way individuals experience work. In the following review, we integrate findings from psychological, sociological, and management literatures pertaining to the management of concealable stigmas. We further push the boundaries of this evidence to develop a multilevel model of workplace identity management behavior. That is, we conceptualize identity management as a within- and between-person phenomenon, accounting for the notion that identity management behaviors will vary as a function of the situation but that people will also exhibit identity management behavioral averages, tendencies, and accumulation that facilitate meaningful comparison among employees. Throughout the review, we highlight common themes, clarify inconsistent findings, and call attention to several fruitful areas we see ripe for future research. © The Author(s) 2013.

Publication Title

Journal of Management